Enterprise Rancheria wins federal approval to offer Class III games

The Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe of the Enterprise Rancheria held a sunrise groundbreaking ceremony for the Fire Mountain Casino on April 8, 2016. Photo courtesy Enterprise Rancheria

It looks like the Enterprise Rancheria of California will be getting its casino project back on track.

The tribe announced a pause in construction of the Fire Mountain Casino due to legal, regulatory and political challenges. But one of those was cleared on Friday when the Bureau of Indian Affairs issued Class III gaming procedures for the project, The Marysville Appeal-Democrat reported.

"The issuance of secretarial procedures by the department is an important milestone and clears a major hurdle for the development of our Tribe's gaming facility," Chairwoman Glenda Nelson said in a press release quoted by the paper. "The tribe is extremely excited and very appreciative to the department for fulfilling its duty to issue the procedures as required under federal law."

The move marks the third time that the BIA has issued Class III gaming procedures in California. In all three instances, the state was failing to negotiate in "good faith" as required by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Despite the development, rival tribes are still trying to stop Fire Mountain from moving forward. They are asking Congress to pass H.R.5079, the California Compact Protection Act to prevent the Enterprise Rancheria from using its 40-acre trust site for Class III games.

The bill was narrowly written to ensure that the gaming rights of the Cachil Dehe Band of Wintun Indians, also known as the Colusa Indian Community, and the United Auburn Indian Community, won't be harmed in the future.

Read More on the Story:
Procedures issued for Yuba County casino (The Marysville Appeal-Democrat 8/15)
After 15 years of delays, Fire Mountain Casino may be close to construction (The Marysville Appeal-Democrat 8/14)

Tribal Leader Opinions on H.R.5079, the California Compact Protection Act:
Maryann McGovran: Don't be fooled by efforts of 'wealthy' tribes (5/13)
Claudia Gonzales: Off-reservation gaming fuels attacks on tribes (5/13)

Bureau of Indian Affairs Documents:
Press Release | Fact Sheet | Two-Part Determination Letter

Federal Register Notice:
Land Acquisitions; Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians of California (December 3, 2012)

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